Welcome to the second trimester, or what many women consider the fun part. Your energy is up, and your meals are staying down. You and your baby are headed into a period of rapid growth now, so hang on and enjoy the ride.
Month Four Checklist
- Treat yourself to a special day out.
- Begin keeping a food log.
- If you don't have one, shop for a crib that meets current safety standards.
- Create a prenatal exercise routine.
Your Baby This Month
Snoozing, stretching, swallowing, and even thumb-sucking, your baby is busy this month as she tests out her new reflexes and abilities. She is losing her top-heavy look as her height starts to catch up to her head size. By the end of this month, she will measure about six to eight inches in length and weigh approximately six ounces.
Your Body's Changes
If you weren't showing last month, chances are you will have a definite pregnant profile by the end of this month. Your uterus is about the size of a head of cabbage, and its top lies just below your belly button.
Your appetite may start to pick up this month, especially if you've been too sick to enjoy a good meal until now. About 60 percent of your total pregnancy weight (about eleven to fifteen pounds) will be gained in this trimester.
Heartburn may start to become a persistent problem as your uterus crowds your stomach and the smooth muscles of your digestive tract remain relaxed from the hormone progesterone. Some tips for putting out the fire include:
- Avoid greasy, fatty, and spicy foods.
- Stay away from alcohol and caffeinated drinks (e.g., cola, tea, coffee); these may relax the valve between the stomach and the esophagus and exacerbate heartburn.
- Eat smaller, more frequent meals instead of three large ones.
- Drink plenty of water between meals to reduce stomach acid.
- Don't eat just before you go to bed or lay down to rest.
- Pile a few extra pillows on the bed to assist gravity in easing heartburn while you sleep.
Another option you have is to keep a food log to try to determine what your heartburn triggers are.
Other symptoms of second-trimester pregnancy you may start or continue to experience this month include the following. Check off those that you are experiencing so that you may discuss relief with your doctor:Hemorrhoids
Tender and/or swollen breasts
Excess mucus and saliva
Increase in vaginal discharge
Mild shortness of breath
Lightheadedness or dizziness
Gas and/or constipation
Skin and hair changes
Feeling warm or easily overheated
On Your Mind
You're hitting your stride as the wooziness and uncertainties of the first three months fade away, and the discomforts of late pregnancy still lie relatively far ahead.
Feeling better and having more energy, you may be ready to conquer the world (or at least the nursery). For many women, the starter's pistol on motherhood goes off right when they feel baby's first pokes and prods. The palpable presence of your child may trigger a series of mothering emotions-protectiveness, nurturing, nesting-and complete and total impatience with anyone who poses a potential threat to the well-being of you and your child.
At the Doctor's or Midwife's Office
If you didn't get to listen to your baby's heartbeat last month, you'll likely get your chance with this visit. Women who have chosen to take an alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) test will have their blood drawn sometime between weeks sixteen and eighteen.